ELIZABETHTOWN - North Country Community College has reached a new, five-year deal with the union that represents its faculty.
NCCC President Steve Tyrell presented on the new contract at Monday's Essex County Board of Supervisors meeting. Afterward, county lawmakers approved the deal unanimously.
Tyrell said negotiations took place over the course of the last year. He said the union and the college's Board of Trustees have approved the deal; the Franklin County Board of Legislators approved it unanimously Thursday.
"The bottom line is that we understand in these economic times - a slight drop in enrollment this year, looking at what's happening for the next few years - that it's important that we all work together," Tyrell said. "This currently negotiated value in the contract really is a huge step for the union and a huge step for the college."
The last contract, which applies to 62 of the college's employees, expired on Sept. 1, 2010. The new deal picks up where the old one left off and extends through Aug. 31, 2015.
The college doesn't give raises based on percentages. Instead, the new faculty contract includes a "step" increase of $1,950 for the current academic year, a half-step increase of $975 in 2013-14 and $1,950 in 2014-15.
Tyrell said in the past, faculty members have received full-step raises in each year of a contract.
"Basically, this contract represents about half of what they've received in the past," he said. "They've been willing to work with us. We really applaud the union for speaking to these terms of negotiation because they know that we're trying to advance the college and move forward on a number of fronts, economically, in the region.
"We have programs on board that can support growth in enrollment and draw more people from our counties to North Country Community College."
Tyrell said the college will begin negotiating a "new matrix" for future step increases in the coming year. He said $1,950 has been the agreed-upon amount for the last decade, "but we believe that number may be hard to maintain in the future.
"(The union) has invited us to actually introduce a new value in the next round of negotiations," Tyrell said.
The contract also includes a reduction of one-half-day per month in sick leave accruals for professional staff.
The college is also working to reach a new deal with its civil service employees. Those negotiations are ongoing, Tyrell said, and both unions plan to discuss health insurance and retirement costs.
Enterprise Staff Writer Jessica Collier contributed to this report.